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Creating a bank branch of the future

venture and product development

Problem to be solved:

  • How can a bank increase its NPS by reimagining the physical branch experience?


  • Facilitating a five-day design sprint to create a prototype branch that was presented to the board of directors, and approved for rollout


  •  The new branch concept was implemented within 6 months. The new generation branch has been rolled out as a flagship branch in key locations in a capital city.

Image by Jordan

We like to joke that COVID-19 has facilitated digital transformation faster than any CTO or consultancy ever could. Consumers demanded digital-first and businesses were forced to respond correspondingly. Although most banks still have a way to go, the digital experiences have improved tremendously. 

How can we make sure that our physical banking channels properly complement our digital channels?

We needed a new flagship branch that would revolutionise the physical branch experience as much COVID did the online experience. We proposed a five-day design sprint, where we would take the working team through the innovation loop.

The innovation loop is a 6-stage process we developed that guides you through creating novel customer solutions. You can download the tool here with some extra tips on how to use it. Before you start the process, you always need to understand the strategic intent behind the innovation. In this case, we had a meeting with the bank’s C-suite to understand the strategic imperative, and what success looks like from the point of view of the bank. Then we facilitated the five-day design sprint.


Our high-level five-day agenda

DAY 1 - Identify probelm

Day 1 was spent identifying the customer problem, and developing deep customer insights. This is the most important part of the innovation loop. It involves exercises such as expert interviews, and user journey mapping. The team started by identifying a customer persona, and gathered insights on what users typically need from a bank branch. The output of day 1 was an insightful customer problem statement which guided the team over the next four days.

DAY 2 - Develop solution

Day 2 was spent developing a solution to the customer problem. The innovation process often starts divergent thinking exercises. These are intended to take the participants out of their existing head space to think creatively about the solution, e.g. lightning research. We then took the participants through convergent thinking exercises, to ground their ideas in reality. Finally, we introduced the participants to storyboarding, so they could conceptualise how the customer interacted with their solution.

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Aditya (Partner) facilitating discussion on day 2

DAY 3 - Develop prototype

Now that the teams were aligned on the solution, day 3 was spent developing the prototype branch. The team first identified the customer assumptions that they want to test through the prototype. We rented a hotel event space, and turned the entire area into a mock branch. Each of the team members worked on different parts, including the appearance, service officer script, and digital panels. We even brought the bank’s branding team to appropriately decorate the space to match the bank’s look and feel.

DAY 4 - Testing

On day 4, we tested the prototype with real customers. Five customers were individually brought through the mock branch. We observed how they interacted with the branch, any pain points we had not anticipated and whether our assumptions had been validated or invalidated. Some of our initial assumptions were invalidated. For example, we assumed customers would appreciate having an iPad to play on while waiting, when in reality, they were happier with their own phones. We ended by consolidating our insights in preparation for day 5.

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Ricky (Partner) launch the new branch format in Jakarta 

DAY 5 - Presentation

Finally, on day 5, we presented the concept branch, our insights and recommendations to the bank’s C-suite. By creating a low-fidelity prototype, we had invalidated many of the bank’s assumptions, saving everyone time and money. The C-suite ended up approving the concept and within 6 months the new bank branch was rolled out all across Jakarta. The new digital-first bank branches resulted in decreased wait time, and higher NPS, creating a more unified customer experience.

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Interested in learning more?

Get in touch with us to find out how we can help play a part in your organisation's journey into the future

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